The Calgary Foundation

“The arts are one of the elements that can make a great city even greater.”



Eva Friesen, President & CEO of The Calgary Foundation, believes that art is a driving force in maintaining Calgary’s long-term sustainability and financial growth. “The arts are one of the elements that can make a great city even greater”, says Friesen. “The arts can and do inspire and encourage creativity in all ages, create conversations around social issues, and drive our economy by creating marquee events that attract tourists.”

The Calgary Foundation has a long and respected history in facilitating investment in vital community programs by connecting donors with organizations who contribute to the economic, social and environmental well being of the city. Friesen, who has been at the helm of The Calgary Foundation since 2005, has consistently demonstrated a belief in the power of the arts. In 2012-13, the organization was part of a steering committee for Calgary Arts Development, tasked to produce an arts development strategy for Calgary. Together, they engaged over 1,000 voices that producedLiving a Creative Life, an arts implementation plan to engage people of all ages and walks of life.

ACAD has been a significant beneficiary of The Calgary Foundation’s commitment to the arts with The Calgary Foundation supporting a number of special initiative grants at ACAD throughout the past 20 years. In 2014, The Calgary Foundation made a sizeable grant to ACAD that enabled the College to be a key partner in a historical exhibit and international symposium, Stronger than Stone.This symposium brought together world-renowned artists and thinkers and gave ACAD an important opportunity to collaborate with large institutions and galleries including the University of Saskatchewan and the Mendel Art Gallery.

In addition to grants, The Calgary Foundation provides ongoing financial support to ACAD students through an interesting mix of scholarships and other awards.

The numerous scholarships, grants and other awards that the Calgary Foundation facilitates and directs to ACAD have tangible results in the real world. Say Friesen, “ACAD should be so proud that countless ACAD graduates are making remarkable contributions to our community, country, and beyond”. ACAD graduates have gone on to start successful companies, contribute beautiful artwork to the city’s public spaces, teach and mentor young people in the community, foster creativity and entrepreneurship in all industries, and use art as a way to heal to inspire people in all segments of society.

Friesen makes a strong point that ACAD’s role extends beyond training and educating those who want to make a career in fine art, design or media arts. ACAD plays a vital role for people who have other careers and are passionate about the arts as a fundamental part of their everyday lives. Through its education program and by its very presence in the community, ACAD can open the door for everyone to live a creative life.